Is eBay losing its appeal?


chief Meg Whitman has said that the site has lost some of its ‘magic’ recently, as the original ethos and aims of the site have increasingly made way to professional sellers.

In its early days, eBay was like a club – a virtual village hall jumble sale, if you like – and had a real community. Many people used it as much to meet other people with the same interests, and to make unusual purchases, as to make money.

"The marketplace has been overwhelmed with identical, often poorly-priced items that have diluted the magic of the eBay experience," she said. "This has resulted in fewer return visits, higher exit rates and fewer bids per listing. In turn, conversion rates and successful listings have declined and eBay’s GMV growth has not been as strong as we would like."

I am sure most eBayers looking to buy products have  experienced this:
type in a keyword and get hundreds of near-identical items. That’s
partly inevitable now that eBay is a global phenomenon. It has 78
million active users (20% more than last year), and there are 35% more
listings. "Buy it Now" listings are also up 35% on last year, a small
sign of the changing nature of Ebay.

Whitman said that eBay would raise the profile of auctions, and increase store prices. More money, less popularity…

There’s still plenty of interesting and bizarre stuff to be had on eBay, though – just take a look at Bayraider.

What’s your take on eBay?

Andy Merrett
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